Power Struggle Over The Powerlinez
Palisades Interstate Parks Commission (PIPC) has recently announced that the area adjacent to Harriman State Park in Rockland County, New York will be closed off to climbers after a town meeting in January. Chris Ingui of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference attended the meeting, reporting that climbers caught in the area will “be escorted off the premises by park police, although the area will remain available for hikers.” Signs and fences are scheduled to be placed throughout the property, and failure to adhere to the new mandate (repeat offenders) may face steep fines instead of steep faces. The legality of climbing in the area has been ambiguous in the past due to ownership issues, but more information can be found at: http://www.sloatsburgvillage.com/2012/02/06/parks-and-rocks-at-the-powerlinez/
This comes as unfortunate news to climbers from the NY-NJ Highlands, which followed the highly anticipated release of a newly published guide book for the area. The area features course Precambrian high-grade Metamorphic rock which was formed when glaciers carved out the Hudson Valley Region. Due to the southward flow of ice, all of the cliffs face south or south east, which is great in the fall and winter months because the sun has time to warm up the rock and keep it dry. Not a lot of chalk is needed here; the rock is course enough for most climbers to minimize their intake, and there are plenty of solid cracks and pockets for single-pitch trad routes. Just before the ban people started to bolt sport routes that are set back behind the head wall, and the land is scattered with large boulders which harbor some pretty intimidating problems. The Powerlinez have some serious potential for premier climbing, and it is a shame that it can no longer be explored in this regard.
But there is talk that there might be a chance to lift the climbing ban at The Powerlinez by appealing to the PIPC; first the climbing community must be able to show that they can keep the area clean and safe for public use. If climbers can form an organization that promises to successfully maintain the property for climbing, the PIPC may reconsider their verdict. There is also some support being generated in the small surrounding towns of Suffern and Tuxedo NY, which claim that the increased traffic from climbers could help give a much needed boost to small businesses. Jon Crefeld, the author of the guidebook, is leading a coalition for the appeal with support from the Access Fund and The Gunks Coalition. But it must be noted that while the appeal is going on, climbers should respect PIPC and their laws. http://www.facebook.com/groups/110610805650592/
The Powerlinez, while currently in the headlines, has been a well known climbing spot for a few decades; there are still a couple rusty pitons lingering around from when the older locals first aided the main wall in the 70′s. The area has both a history and a youthfulness that is very attractive to those seeking virgin rock or classic ascents which span a wide range of difficulties. It is our hope to bring awareness to the situation in an effort to establish more recreational climbing areas in the Historic Hudson Valley Region.
ATTN POWERLINEZ CLIMBERS:
The rules of the land MUST be followed while the case is underway, as this will only provide more reason for PIPC to uphold their verdict. Please RESPECT the laws and refrain from climbing until the dust has settled. We want to prove to PIPC that climbers are a respectable group of people who only want to best for everyone involved. Thank you.